Never Tear Us Apart
by Jackie Pena

Part One

Chapter 1

Archie received the best care for his wound. One of the best Doctors in Kingston was sent for by Pellew himself. Surgery was performed to remove the ball from his abdominal area.

It was a very risky procedure, but the surgeon was an expert in his field, and the surgery was a success.

Both Pellew and Horatio were by Archie's side. They were hoping and praying that Archie would not catch an infection or a fever. Archie pulled through.

The Doctor said his recovery would take a very long time....
*******************************
Horatio had bid him goodbye after being given command of Retribution. The two men had wished each other well and promised to see each other in the future.

Commodore Pellew left for England shortly thereafter. Archie could not thank him enough.

During his recovery, Archie began to miss Horatio. He hoped all was going well with him and his new promotion.

He wrote letters to his family and old friends to let them know that he is alive and getting well.

Commodore Pellew had Archie's sea chest sent to the infirmary before leaving. He was so glad to have it there with him. His whole life was in there.

When he gained enough strength, Archie was allowed to sail home for an indefinate leave of absence to aid in his recovery.
*************************************
Archie arrived in London. How he missed the excitement of the city, and most of all his favorite, the theatre. When he was a young boy while visiting his late Great-Aunt, she took him to see Midsummers Night Dream in Drury Lane. He loved the way the actors recited the lines with such great passion, he loved the costumes, and his favorite character Puck. When he returned home, he recited the play to and audience: the family pets and his younger sister.
**********************************
He attended many dinner parties. It was the chance to see old friends again, and meet eligible women.

Unfortunately the women he met did not appeal to him. Many of them were beautiful and well educated, but had the same self-centered, boring manner of many women in high society.

***********************

One day, while walking the rainy streets of London not too far from his beloved Drury Lane, he came across a small bookshop. Being an avid reader, he decided to go inside.

He was greeted by a pleasant looking old man.

"Good afternoon young man, is there anything I can assist you with?"

"Good afternoon Sir. I was walking by when I noticed your shop. May I have a look around?"

"Oh yes please do. I was about to have tea. Would you care to join me Mister?"

"Kennedy. Archie Kennedy, Sir. Thank you, a cup of tea would be lovely."

The men shook hands.

"I'm Harold Cummings."

"Morgan! Morgan!" The old man called out.

"Yes Mr. Cummings?" A female voice said.

"Please bring an extra cup and saucer child."

"Yes Sir."

She stepped out of a room from the back of the shop. His breath was taken away by the vision of the beauty standing before him.

She was slightly shorter than him, fair skinned, beautiful auburn hair that was up in a fashionable bun, eyes green like emeralds, and a very shapely figure.

"Mr. Kennedy, this is Miss Morgan O'Connor, my employee, she is like a daughter to me."

Morgan cracked a bashful smile at his kind words.

Morgan curtsied. "Pleased to make your acquaintance Sir."

"Likewise Miss." He took one of her dainty hands and kissed it at the knuckles. She blushed and could not believe how incredibly handsome he was.

Mr. Cummings set the tea tray with biscuts on a small table with chairs in a small room behind the counter. The tea service was old and worn, but of good quality. Morgan hung a sign on the door that read "closed for tea", then joined the men to serve them tea.

"So Mr. Kennedy, are you from this great city?" Mr. Cummings asked.

"I'm orginally from Scotland, but I did spend a great amount of time here when I was a boy."

"Ahh, Scotland, beautiful country it is young man. Don't you think so Morgan?"

Morgan was lost in her staring at Archie, that she did not answer Mr. Cummings.

"Morgan, cat take your tongue?"

She blushed. "Well I have never ventured there, I have heard it is."

Archie grinned at her. "Maybe one day you will." He looked into her emerald colored eyes.

"If I may ask, what do you do for a living young man?" Cummings asked.

"I'm an officer in his Majestys Royal Navy. Fourth Leftenant."

"Splendid! I admire young men as yourself. Very brave for protecting this great country!"

"Are you on leave Sir?" Morgan shly asked.

"Yes I am. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be on land again and how much I missed it."

Morgan smiled slightly and blushed a bit. Archie's heart melted.


"How long young man?" Cummings asked.

"I was wounded in battle with the Spanish near Kingston. I have been recovering in the Indies for the past few months, and have just returned to complete my recovery."

Morgan became wide eyed. "Oh Mr. Kennedy, I am sorry to hear about your injury."

"A skilled surgeon saved my life."

"Well it is good to hear that a Doctor used a technique other than leeches to treat someone."

Archie chuckled. "Yes indeed."

"More tea, Mr. Kennedy?" She asked.

"If you would please. I have not had tea this good in a long time."

She refilled his cup, and while returning it to him, she accidently tipped it over spilling it on his shirt and breeches.

She gasped in horror. "I am so sorry Mr. Kennedy!" She grabbed a cloth napkin. "I am so clumsy!" Morgan was almost in tears.

"It is alright Miss O'Connor. No harm done. They are old clothes, please don't be upset."

"I will clean them for you. Please bring them here tommorow."

"It is not necessary."

"Please Sir. I will feel better if you would."

Archie let out a deep breath. "Alright, if it will make you feel better, I will. My word on it."

She let out a breath of relief.
****************************
After tea, Mr. Cummings reopened the shop, and Archie proceeded to look around. He came across a copy of Midsummer's Night Dream. He had a copy when he was younger and took it with him when he joined the Navy until one day out of spite, Simpson threw it overboard because he knew if was one of Archie's favorite books.

Morgan walked up behind him. "You like Shakespere Mr. Kennedy?"

"Yes." He said with a wide grin. "This one is my favorite. I had a copy when I was young, but I lost it somehow. Have you read it?"

"Yes Sir, I have. I enjoyed it but my favorite are The Sonnets."

He recited to her.

To me friend, you, never can be old;
For as you were when first you eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still; three winters cold
Have from the forest shook three summer's pride;
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned
In the process of the seasons have I seen;
Three Aprill perfumed in three hot junes burned,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet art green.


She smiled and completed the verse.

Ah, yet doth beauty, like a dial hand,
Steal from his figure, and no peace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which mathink still doth stand,
Have motion, and mine eye may be decived;
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred,
Ere you were born was beauty's summer dead.


She shyly smiled when finished.

"Very impressive Miss O'Connor."

She chuckled. "My favorite indeed."

Mr. Cummings approached them. "Ah, I see you've found something already, very good!"

"How much do you ask for this fine book Mr. Cummings?"

Mr. Cummings took the book from him and examined it carefully. "Hmm, it is a bit old and worn, and has been here for quite some time. For you young man, consider it a gift, but only if you promise to return from time to time for tea."

Archie smiled. "It's deal Sir! Thank you."

Mr. Cummings and Morgan escorted Archie to the door.

"I will be waiting for your return to clean your clothes to clean your clothes Mr. Kennedy."

"Oh yes. I will come on the morrow Miss O'Connor. I keep my promises."

She grinned. "Good. I will see you then."

"Yes." He said.

Archie left the little shop after seeing the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and cannot wait to see her again.


************************************************************

Chapter 2

During the night, as Archie lay staring at the ceiling, his thoughts were on Morgan. His thoughts of her beauty, charm, and knowledge of Shakepere's Sonnets.

Lying in her own bed, Morgan was also awake. She lived in a small flat behind the bookshop. As she sat up in bed, trying to read a book, constant thoughts of Archie interrupted her concentration.

"Oh Morgan, don't be silly! Why would he take a fancy to you?" She put the book aside, blew out the candle, and tried to get some sleep.

She tossed and turned until she was finally able to fall asleep.

********************************************

The next day, Archie eagerly made his way to the bookshop with the tea stained clothes.

A big smile appeared on Morgan's face when he entered the shop.

"Good morning Miss O'Connor."

"Good morning Sir. I am pleased that you brought your clothes to be cleaned. I will get the stains out the best I can."

"Don't overdo yourself Miss, they are not my best clothes."

She looked down with a shy grin.

Archie was also shy. After an awkward silence, he blurted out.

"Forgive me, but I must be off to run some errands."

"No problem Sir. I will have your clothes cleaned and dry by the end of the day."

"Good day Miss O'Connor. Please give my regards to Mr. Cummings." Archie gave her a gentlemanly bow and left. A moment later, Mr. Cummings arrived.

"Good morning dear Mor gan. I just saw Mr. Kennedy."

He noticed that she was holding a folded man's shirt and breeches.

"Oh I see, he was here already!"

"Yes Mr. Cummings, may I..."

Mr. Cummings cut her off. " Go ahead child. I know you promised the young lad."

Morgan curtsied. "Thank you Mr. Cummings!"

She hurried over to her home. She filled a large tub she used for bathing with hot water to wash Archie's clothing but before immersing them, she was bold enough to put his shirt to her nose, and take in his scent. It bought a smile to her lips, and a blush to her face.

She used a bar of Yardley's soap and a brush to scrub out the stains, and after a little effort, she removed the stains with great success. A professional could not have done a better job. She hung the clothes near the roaring fireplace to dry.

Morgan was worn out from not being able to sleep the night before, and lay down on her bed and dozed off. The sound of knocki ng on her door took her out of a deep sleep.

"Morgan are you in there child? Mr. Kennedy is here for his clothes."

Morgan gasped and quickly rose from her bed not realizing that she had fallen asleep for so long.

"I'll be right there!"

She fixed her hair and straightened her skirts. Archie's clothes were dry. She folded them with great care and returned to the shop.

"Good afternoon Mr. Kennedy." She handed him his clothes. Chills went down her spine when his hand brushed with hers.

He put the clean clothes up to his nose. "Ahh, my garments have never smelled this wonderful!"

He smiled. She blushed.

"And I see that you were able to get the stains out. Very good!" He said.

" 'Tis nothing Sir. I am glad you are satisfied."

"Please let me repay you for your kindness Miss O'Connor."

"No need Mr. Kennedy. Your gratefulness is repayment enough."

"Well thank you again Miss."

"Oh please call m e Morgan."

"Alright, then no more Mr. Kennedy or Sir. From now on it's Archie, Understood?"

"Agreed." They were both staring at each other in silence until Archie spoke up.

"Well I best not keep you from your duties. Good afternoon Morgan."

He kissed her hand and nodded at Mr. Cummings.

Mr. Cummings teased Morgan afterwards.

"Tsk, tsk, what kind of spell did you put on the young man?"

"Oh stop, Mr. Cummings!''

The old man chuckled. "Just be sure and make me the Godfather of your first child."

Morgan rolled her eyes. "You are incorrigible!"

Mr. Cummings chuckled again.

*****************************************

Archie still wanted to repay Morgan somehow. He walked along the streets passing shops thinking of how to show her his appreciation. An older woman approached him.

"May I help you find something special Sir?"

"Well, yes Ma'am, but I am not sure what I am looking for."
< BR>"Are you buying a gift for your Mother?"

"No."

"Sister?"

"No."

"Sweetheart, or wife?"

"No Ma'am. She is an acquaintance, and I would like to give her something for her kindness."

She guided him over to a display of hair combs.

"Well I suggest a pair of these."

"Very good suggestion Ma'am. She does have lovely hair, but do you think it is too forward to give her these as a gift?"

"Oh no Sir! I think it is a fine idea."

"What color is her hair?" She asked.

"It is sort of a reddish brown color."

"Ah auburn." The lady said.

"Yes, and eyes the color of emeralds." Added Archie dreamily as he breathed almost to himself.

The woman grinned a chuckled a bit.

"Forgive me Ma'am you did not ask what the color of her eyes were."

"Don't apologize young man. Ah, what about these?" She picked out a pair of chestnut colored combs with green ivy leaves painted on them.

"Her e we are! The color of the combs will match her hair, and the color of the leaves will match her eyes." She said.

"Indeed Ma'am. I will take them."

"Splendid! I will wrap them for you." The kind saleswoman handed him the wrapped package.

"There you go young man. I hope she finds them beautiful."

"Thank you Ma'am."

Archie stepped out of the shop. He could not believe he just bought a gift for a girl he barely knew.

It was late in the afternoon, Archie headed back to the home were he is staying. The residence belonged to one of his childhood friends, Charles Carrington, and his wife Rebecca.

******************************************

Morgan and Mr. Cummings were having dinner consisting of roast chicken and potatoes in a tavern across from the bookshop.

"Mr. Kennedy is a fine young man Morgan."

"Don't start Mr. Cummings! We just met, and besides, why would he want a girl like me?"

"Don't be daft! You' re young, beautiful, and very bright! Why would he not?"

She sighed. "I've no money and did not come from a good family, that is why."

"Oh Morgan, that is no reason to keep yourself from happiness."

****************************************

"Why so quiet Archie?" Charles asked his friend.

"No particular reason my friend."

"Uh huh, I've seen that look before." A wide grin appeared on Charles' face.

"You've met a girl haven't you? Well at least you did not waste your time in doing so!"

Rebecca scolded him. "Oh Charles stop teasing him. You can be such a child sometimes!"

"Really Charlie, to this day I do not know what Becca sees in you." Archie said in a teasing manner.

Charles glared at him. Rebecca giggled.

"You deserved that Charles!" She said.

Charles wanted to pursue the matter further.

"Who is she? Is she someone we know?"

"Probably not."

"Oh then she is not from here? "

"Yes she is."

"Come on Archie old man! You are killing me with the suspense!" Charles said in between chuckles.

"Here name is Morgan, and that is all I am going to tell you."

"Will we get to meet her?" Rebecca asked.

"That is too soon to predict dear Becca." Archie said.

"Well if we ever have the opportunity Archie, she is welcome to dinner." Rebecca added.

Charles looked at his wife.

"Alright, I am curious myself." She added.

Charles laughed.

Archie shook his head.

Chapter 3 The following day, Archie decided to go to the shop to join Morgan and Mr. Cummings for afternoon tea.

When he entered the shop, he found Morgan taking care of a new shipment of books and was carrying a large pile of them. She looked like she could use some help with it.

 

"Archie, it is lovely to see you again so soon."

"May I say the same of you Morgan. Allow me to help you with those books."He offered ashetook them from her.

"Thank you Archie. Mr. Cummings usually helps, but the poor man has fallen asleep while reading the morning newspaper."

Archie laughed at hearing this.

"Would you like some tea?" She asked.

"Yes thank you."

Morgan hurried over to hang the "Closed for Tea" sign on the door before anyone would enter. Mr. Cummings was still asleep and Morgan did not want to disturb the aging man's rest.

Morgan served tea for Archie and this time was extra careful to not accidentally spill any on his clothes.

She sat across from him, shyly looking down at her tea.

Archie thought this was the perfect opportunity to learnmore about her.

"Morgan, may I be forward and ask you a few questions?"

She was afraid of what he was going to ask her, but she agreed to his request. "Yes, Archie you may."

"Well, how old are you?"

"I am nineteen, and you."

He smiled; surprised at her quick reply tohim. "I am twenty-five."

 

"Were you born here?"

"Yes, I was born here,but my parents are from Ireland."

"Oh, they still live there?"

"No, my parents are both dead." She replied shyly.

"I am sorry to hear that Morgan."

"It is alright."She said, her head bowed down.

She looked up and met his sapphire eyes. "Enough about me Archie, what about you? Fair is fair."

He chuckled. "I guess you're right."

He did not know where to start, but he had to, fair was fair.

"Well, I am the third of four children. My father is Scottish and my mother is Irish. I joined the Navy at age 12 and thatis where I met my good friend, Horatio Hornblower."

Morgan smiled. "More biscuits or cakes Archie?"

"Cakeplease, it is most delicious."

"Thank you. I baked itthis morning."

He flashed a wide grin and took another piece of teacake.

They talked for another hour, discoveringtheir interests for books and the theatre werequite similar.

Morgan looked at a small mantle clock on the counter. "Oh dear, the shop has been closed for over two hours! Please don't get up Archie, finish your tea and cake." She went towards the door.

"Morgan wait!" He said. She turned around to face him.

Archie had not had the nerve to give Morgan the hair combs until now.

He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out the small package.

"I hope it is not too forward to give you this Morgan."

She approached him and he handed it to her. She unwrapped the package.

She was surprised. "Archie, you shouldn't have!"

"You took time away from your work to take such good care in cleaning my garments."

"It was nothing Archie. It was my fault that they were stained in the first place."

"Please take them as a token of my appreciation."

Morgan did not want to look as though she were ungrateful, and did not want to hurt Archie's feelings.She was delighted Archie had thought enough of her to give her a pair of combs as a gift.

"Thank you Archie. They are lovely." She pulled out the pins she had in her hair to place the combs in it.

She was bold enough to give him a peck on the cheek.

They looked at each other, still close enough for their bodies to be almost touching, tempting enough for a passionate kiss. However, the spell was broken when a groggy Mr. Cummings came out of his office. Embarrassed, they broke apart.

 

"Morgan, I cannot believe I fell asleep for as long as I did! Mr. Kennedy, good to see you again young man!"

"Hello Mr. Cummings. It's a pleasure to see you again, too, sir. I fear that I was just about to leave, Sir, I've some errands to attend. I had tea with Morgan earlier, and may I say she makes the most delicious cakes and biscuits I've ever had!"
She diffidentlybowed her head down.

"Indeed she does young man."

"Good afternoon Mr. Cummings." Archie nodded. "And Morgan." He kissed her hand.

"Good afternoon Archie." She smiled to herself as he closed the door behind him.

****************************
Archie and Morgan were not able to see each other for two weeks. Charles had asked him to accompany him to Portsmouth on business.

When he returned, Archie went to the bookshop, anxious to see Morgan again after their seperation. As he was getting near, Morgan was leaving.

He quickly approached her. "Miss O'Connor."

She turned around quite surprised. "Mr. Kennedy, how nice to see you again."

He smiled. "And may I say the same. Forgive me for not stopping by for tea as I promised, I have been out of town and arrived only yesterday." He explained to her.

" Cummings and I did wonder, we were worried about you." Morgan said with gleam in her eyes.

"I'm sorry to have caused you concern, as you can see, I'm just fine.It looks like you were about to go somewhere. May I have the honor of accompanying you?" He asked.

Morgan's heart skipped rapidly. She chose her words carefully so as not to sound too enthusiastic at his offer.

"Thank you for your gracious offer Archie, but you do not have to trouble yourself. Mr. Cummings sent me to do his shopping. I have to go to quite a few places."

Archie was really very eager to accompany her and offered again.

"It is no trouble at all Morgan. I was headed to the markets too."

"Well if you are, I would enjoy your company Archie."

 

He gave her his arm, she gracefully accepted, her hand resting lightly on his sleeve.

It was a cool, crisp, autumn day. The sun was shining and not one cloud was in the sky. Morgan had visited two shops so far, with Archie carrying the packages for her. They still had a few more yet to go.

"Such a lovely day, don't you think Morgan?"

"Oh yes. Finally we have a day without rain."

Morgan felt like a prim and proper lady on Archie's arm. For his part, Archie was proud to be escorting a strikingly beautiful woman such as her.

Archie was beginning to feel hungry.

"Morgan, would you give me the honor of treating you to lunch?"

She was having difficulty getting the words out of her mouth. "Well, I,"

He chuckled. "You do eat don't you?"

She giggled. "Yes, lunch would be lovely Archie."

************************

Archie chose a lovely little tavern in the market square. He had been there before and liked the atmosphere and the polite staff.

"Please choose whatever you would like Morgan. The food here is most delicious."

The barmaid approached their table. "G'day, w'ot can I get for ye fine folks?"

"Well, I would just like a bowl of soup." She said bashfully.

"Hmm, soup sounds good to me as well." He said. "Two bowls of your fine soup and fresh bread please." He said to the barmaid.

"Right away gov'." The lady said.

"How long have you known Mr. Cummings Morgan?"

She thought for a bit. "Going on six years. He took me in soon after I became an orphan."

"He is a very nice man. I took a liking to him the moment I met him." Archie said.

"Yes, Mr. Cummings is a sweet man. He is like a father to me."

The bowls of soup were welcomed in their empty stomachs. Morgan had such excellent table manners, that she ate her soup more silently than Archie; who was enjoying his with every slurping sound he made.

*******************

After finishing their meal, they continued their trip to the markets. From a distance, ships could be seen on the harbour.

"I hope Mr. Cummings is not doing anything foolish like dragging crates full of books whilst I'm gone."

Archie was lost in his admiration of boats at anchor before them. He did not hear one word Morgan said.

"You miss it don't you?" Morgan asked.

"Forgive me Morgan, I did not mean to ignore you.

"It's alright. Do you miss it?"

He knitted his brow in confusion.

"Sailing. The sea, the Navy." She said.

"Oh, that. Yes I do, but there are things that I do not miss about it. For example, the long months away from home, the terrible food, long watches on deck, and bilge water."

"I suppose if I was in the Navy, I would not miss those parts of it either."

He cracked a smile and stared into her sparkling emerald eyes. She returned his look with a warm smile.

Out of nowhere, someone came up behind Morgan and Archie, quickly grabbed her purse, making Morgan lose her balance and falling to the ground and taking Archie with her.

"Oh dear God that man took my purse!"

Archie quickly rose and helped Morgan to her feet.

" Are you alright?"

"Yes." A shaken up Morgan replied.

"Wait here." Archie said taking off after the thief as fast he could weaving in and out of the crowds in the street.

 

Despite his handicap, he quickly gained on the thief. The man periodically looked back, still holding Morgan's purse clutched in his hand.

**********************

Morgan picked up her packages with assistance from onlookers. Archie had told her to wait for him, but she became very concerned for him and decided to look for him, heading off in the direction they had disappeared.

*************************

The man took a turn around a corner into a dead end alleyway. He had nowhere else to run.

"Give me the purse!" Archie yelled.

Archie was about to approach the dirty, evil looking man with rotted teeth, when he pulled a knife on Archie.

"Come 'n get it!" Growled the man.

The man swung the knife, barely missing Archie's face. With a swift kick, Archie managed to knock the knife out of the thief's hand.

Punches flew. Archie was hit in the jaw, but he managed to hit the robber in the eye and stomach. Archie was caught off guard with a knee to the ribs, making him double over in pain and fall to the ground.

The robber took this as an advantage and started to kick Archie while he was down.

"Ye want 'tis purse? Hahaha, you ain't gittin' it!" The man hissed.

The attack on Archie ceased when the thief was hit over the head , falling unconscious to the ground.

It was Morgan. She hit him with a bottle of wine she had from her shopping.

She rushed to Archie and helped him sit up. "Archie!'' She noticed he was holding the right side near his ribcage. "You're hurt." She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket to wipe blood from the corner of his mouth. He was struggling to his feet. "Maybe you should not move. Your ribs may be broken."

"I'll be alright."

Morgan grabbed her purse from the still unconscious thief and helped Archie to stand. He was still grabbing his side, and softly groaned in pain.

Morgan wrapped her arm around his waist and put his arm around her shoulders for support. "Don't be afraid to lean on me Archie."

"I, ow, I do not wish to hurt you Morgan."

"I am not made of eggshells, put your weight on me to ease your pain some."

They slowly walked out of the alleyway into the streets. A stocky middle aged man approached them.

"I'll help ye young lady. 'Ere give em te me."

"You are very kind Sir. Thank you." She said.

"I've got a horse and a cart Miss, ye want me te take ye somewhere?"

"If you could Sir. My home is not far from here." Morgan said.

"Gladly." He said. The man carefully put Archie in the cart and then helped Morgan climb in.

Morgan gently held Archie's hand and knitted her brow with great concern every time the cart would hit a bump making Archie groan in pain.

"We're almost there Archie." She said.

"This is the place Sir. It is the flat behind the bookshop."

The man helped to bring Archie inside.

"Please take him to the bed Sir, wait, before you lay him down, let's take his cloak off."

Archie was put into bed with great care. Morgan removed his shoes and made sure he was warm and comfortable.

"Is there anything else I can do for ye Miss?" The man asked.

"No Sir. You have been most kind, Mister. Forgive me, but I've not yet learned your name."

"Masterson, Paul Masterson."

"My name is Morgan O'Connor and this is Archie Kennedy, and I am in your debt, Mister Masterson, thank you kindly." Morgan said.

"And I thank you Mister Masterson." Archie said weakly.

Morgan knew by looking at the man, that he was someone of limited funds and gave him a bag that contained a ham inside.

"Oh no Miss, I can't accept this."

"Please take it Sir."

"Thank ye Miss Morgan, me wife and children will be 'appy when they see this!"

Morgan smiled.

"Well g'day to ye both." Masterson tipped his hat and left.

Morgan looked at Archie. "Archie I will be right back. I am going to let Mr. Cummings know what happened."

*************************

Mr. Cummings was shocked. "I will close the shop this very minute and get a Doctor!" He locked up the shop and went on his way.

Morgan returned to her home and found Archie struggling to sit up.

"Archie what are you doing? You can hurt yourself."

"I am alright Morgan, ow!" He grabbed his side and fell back trying to catch his breath.

"Don't try that again Archie, you can easily puncture a lung if your ribs are broken!." She poured water into a basin and wet a cloth to pat his flushed forehead and cheeks.

"Here have some water." She slowly raised his head.

Mr. Cummings entered. "The Doctor is here."

Morgan told the Doctor what happened to Archie and then went over to the next room to give him privacy to examine his patient.

When he finished, he called Morgan.

"Well, two of his ribs on his right side are broken and the others are severely bruised. He must remain in bed for some time, considering he is still recovering from surgery due to another injury, he is a lucky man."

"I will make sure he is well taken care of Doctor."

He handed Morgan a small bottle. "If he is in pain, give him a small dose laudanum."

"I will do so, Doctor." She walked him to the door.

"I will be back in a few days to check on him. If he gets worse before that, send for me."

"Thank you." She said.

The Doctor nodded and left.

"Morgan, I do not want to be an inconvenience; I can go to the home I am staying."

"You won't be an inconvenience. Did you not hear what the Doctor said? Strict bed rest and you will do that even if it means restraining you to the bed somehow."

Archie softly chuckled. "Aye, aye Ma'am."

"I will send a note to your friends if you like, I am sure they will worry."

"Yes, they will, thank you Morgan."

She smiled at him. "Well, I am going to start supper, is stew alright Archie?"

"Sounds wonderful."

"Good. I hope you are staying for dinner Mr. Cummings."

"Indeed I am child, thank you."

Morgan helped Archie to eat, mindful of the fact he shouldn't move too much. Archie wished he'd had a nurse as pretty as her when he was in Kingston recovering from surgery.
Mr. Cummings stayed a little while after dinner to keep Archie company while Morgan cleaned up. He made Archie laugh a bit too hard and caused Archie some pain.

He left soon after Morgan was finished cleaning up. Morgan made sure Archie was tucked in and comfortable.

"Are you in pain Archie?"

"Yes, a bit."

She reached for the laudanum and poured some in a cup of water. "Take this, it will help."
He sipped it. "Blech, I forgot how horrible it tastes. I do not know how some people become addicted to that vile concoction."

Morgan giggled. "Yes I know."

He reached for her hand. "I feel terrible. I feel as though I am invading your privacy. Where will you sleep?"

"Do not worry. I've already dragged out a trundle bed I have."

"Oh good, I was afraid you were going to sleep on the floor."

She chuckled. "Fortunately no."

Archie's eyelids grew heavy and started to nod off. "I believe the laudanum is taking effect."

"Get some rest Archie."

"Good night dear Morgan."

"Good night Archie and sleep well."

She blew out the candle and readied for bed.

In the middle of the night, Morgan was startled out of her sleep by Archie crying out in pain. She quickly put her robe on.

"Archie, what's wrong?" She asked with great concern as she walked into his room.

Morgan lit a candle and in its soft glow, she noticed Archie was panting and his face was flushed, in obvious pain. "I'm sorry I woke you. I accidently turned onto my injured side."

"You poor thing. Would you like more laudanum?"

"Just a bit please." He attempted a smile. "It is the most horrid of concoctions."

"I agree." She said.

Morgan mixed the laudanum and water into a cup and passed it to Archie. He drank the diluted liquid with great displeasure. Next, she poured water into a basin and cooled his flushed face with a damp cloth and then placed an extra pillow on his injured side.

"Here, this may help just in case you were to turn on your side again."

Although in pain, he relaxed as she gently settled him once more. "Thank you Morgan, I must apologize for causing you so much trouble. It is the middle of the night, and I am keeping you up. "He seemed embarrassed.

She held his hand. "Do not apologize Archie, it is no trouble at all. I owe you a great debt. You risked your life for me, it is the least I could do."

"And you saved mine. I suppose I owe Mr. Cummings a new bottle of wine."

Morgan chuckled. "Try to rest Archie. Please don't hesitate to call me if you need anything. Are you comfortable enough?"

"Yes, very comfortable thank you." He started to feel drowsy as the medicine began to take effect. He would be asleep soon.

"Sleep well Archie."

"And the same to you." He said.

She left his room, leaving the door ajar just he case he would wake again.

To be continued.....